Name a few things you wish you could stop… but just can’t: a tidal wave; a bad habit; a steamroller; Pewaukee’s run game.
For the second time in the past three weeks the Trojans got in major trouble because they couldn’t stop a strong run game. Two weeks ago it was New Berlin West and their 346 yards on the ground. This time it was a drubbing on Pewaukee’s home field, as the Pirates used 46 run attempts to gain 339 yards in their 41-13 win over Tosa West. Here’s a game report:
The Trojans received the opening kickoff, got nine yards on run plays and punted the ball away. The Pirates got two running first downs from their talented senior backfield and then punted. The Trojans’ second series was three-and-out, as our backs were getting stuffed at the line and the pass game was getting completions but not first downs.
On their next series, Trojan fans expected another run series from the Pirates. But the fans and defensive backfield were caught sleeping when the Pirate QB lofted a 65 yard bomb to a wide open receiver for the game’s first score.
The Trojan’s next offensive series started well, with three first downs on a pass-run-run series, but after West’s seniors QB Jared Morzinski and receiver Develyn Ferguson missed connections on a deep fly pattern, the Trojans had to punt again.
The Trojan defense was stout for most of the half. Junior interior linemen Christian Cagle and Christian Morzinski stacked up Pirate runners to stop drives. Senior Niko Lewis demonstrated an excellent form tackle, while classmate Greg Lewis made a hard-nose tackle for a loss, and then used good timing to break up a Pirate pass. With just over three minutes left in the half the Trojan offense got the ball back. A churning Demaris Purifoy run gained 12 yards, but the drive stalled and the Trojan’s punted for the umpteenth time in the half.
Recall last week’s defensive stand before halftime that created positive momentum? Well, this week the Trojans lost momentum before half. The letdown started with under two minutes left, when the Pirates returned a high Zach Veit’s punt a whopping 45 yards to the Trojan 14-yard line. When Pewaukee plowed to a first down at the 4, the clock stopped with 27 seconds left in the half. Two plays later the Pirates scored and the half ended 14 – 0.
Tosa West fans were optimistic entering the second half. They held their own for a good share of the first half, and there was the memory of last week’s explosive 36 point second half comeback against Pius XI. But momentum was missing and this was a different time and place, leading to a much different outcome.
Trojan fans did see two sparkling plays in the third quarter. Junior Demaris Purifoy scored on lightning-bolt runs of 40 and 60 yards, and finished as the game’s top runner with 128 yards on 11 carries. But these Pirates are deep and strong. When their ball-control run-game kicked in, yardage and clock got chewed up. They scored three times on the ground and the score at the end of the quarter was 34-13.
The only 4th quarter score went to the Pirates on a long pass due to a Trojan defender’s poor position and mistimed jump. The Pirate starting QB completed two passes on the night, both for scores. Ouch. Trojan QB Jared Morzinski finished 5 of 8 for 41 yards.
From the stands, it appeared that several Trojans were exhausted from pushing – and being pushed by the big bodies of Pewaukee. The Trojans have talented athletes but several of them start on both sides of the ball – and when your fatigue shows like it did – it’s a bad sign. The good news is that several less experienced sophomores and juniors are contributing in important ways. Juniors Devin Tucker and Matt Lundell made strong plays on special teams, and sophomore Truman Tyson is a good addition in the offensive backfield.
My question to Blog readers: Against a good defense (and they’ll see at least two more this season), what does the Trojan offense need to do to sustain drives?
The Trojans are now 1-2 in the conference and 3 – 2 overall. The next match-up is away against New Berlin Eisenhower, 0-3 in conference play and 1-4 overall.